Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, January 5, 2020 at 12:00 AM
NOW, HERE ARE SUNDAY’S
NFC WILD CARD GAMES –
VIKINGS AT SAINTS,
SEAHAWKS AT EAGLES
The NFL Playoff party rages on with a pair of NFC Wild Card Games on this first Sunday of 2020, so let’s get to ‘em but first this quickie reminder:
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have this weekend’s NFL Wild Card Playoff winners on both Saturday/Sunday – just call us on game days at the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here at www.jimhurley.com and also cash in with NBA / NCAA hoops / College Football Bowls.
NFL WILD CARD GAMES
On Sunday, it’s …
MINNESOTA (10-6) at NEW ORLEANS (13-3) – 1:05 p.m. ET, Fox / Line: Houston – 7.5 and 49.5 points
Let’s face it: Nobody in “The Big Easy” needs to remind the locals just how bad the heartache’s been these past two post-seasons with the “Minneapolis Miracle” in the winter of 2017 followed by last year’s NFC Championship Game non-call on what should have been clear pass interference against the LA Rams, so please excuse Saints fans for waking up in a bad mood today!
The bottom line, however, is the “Who Dat’s” frolic into this home playoff game with the NFL’s all-time touchdown passing leader in QB Drew Brees (2,979 yards passing with 27 TDs and 4 INTs this year after missing a chunk of games with a fractured thumb) and a very healthy RB Alvin Kamera who collected an underwhelming 1,330 yards from scrimmage in 2019 but did register a pair of rushing scores last weekend in Carolina.
If Brees is on target here – paging all-world WR Michael Thomas (NFL-best 149 pass receptions) – and Kamera is scooting around while picking up huge chunks of yards, then truth is this TD-plus underdog Vikings team probably doesn’t stand a chance even if Minny RB Dalvin Cooks (1,135 yards rushing with 13 TDs) is close to 100 percent after missing time lately with a shoulder injury.
Spread Notes – New Orleans has covered 11 of its last 14 games this year following a rocky 0-and-2 pointspread start but note the Saints are a collective 0-3-1 spreadwise in playoff games the past two seasons; Meanwhile, Minnesota is 9-7 ATS (against the spread) this year and the Vikings enter this post-season bash at 61-35-3 vig-wise under sixth-year boss-man Mike Zimmer.
SEATTLE (11-5) at PHILADELPHIA (9-7) – 4:40 p.m. ET, NBC / Line: Seattle – 1.5 and 45.5 points
Hey, hey, hey:
We don’t want to hear any catcalls regarding the fact the Seahawks won two more regular-season games than did the host Eagles here – Philly won its ugly NFC East title fair and square and actually zoom into this post-season clash riding a four-game SU (straight-up) winning streak and a three-game ATS winning streak … so there!
Fourth-year head coach Doug Pederson has preached (and practiced) the “next man up” approach following the slew of injuries to the Eagles but now Philly’s dealing with Seattle QB Russell Wilson (he is 4-0 SU all-time against the Eagles) who was sacked six times back in Week 12 when Seattle eked out a 17-9 win as 1.5-point road favorites. If the Seahawks’ O-line suffers through another crummy game here then the Eagles – starring a blitz-happy Jim Schwartz-defense – can steal this rematch.
One major X-factor in play here: The Eagles cannot have any stutters from PK Jake Elliott who has missed four FGs in his team’s last five games. The point is this one could well be a battle of field possession between the 20s and we say the team with the more made “threes” will win.
Spread Notes – Seattle’s 7-8-1 against the Las Vegas price tags this season and overall the Seahawks are 10-4-3 ATS away since the start of the 2018 campaign; On the flip side, Philadelphia is 7-9 ATS this year and a composite 5-10-1 spreadwise as hosts these past two years.
COLLEGE BOWL POINTSPREAD STANDINGS
(thru Jan. 4, 2020)
CONF WON LOSS TIE PCT
Mid-Eastern Athletic 1 0 0 1.000
Mountain West 5 2 0 .714
Independents 2 1 0 .667
Mid-American 3 2 1 .600
American Athletic 4 3 0 .571
Pac-12 4 3 0 .571
Big 10 5 4 0 .556
SEC 4 5 0 .444
Conference USA 3 4 1 .429
ACC 4 6 0 .400
Big 12 2 4 0 .333
Sun Belt 1 3 0 .250
SWAC 0 1 0 .000
NOTE: Catch the first look at the NFL Divisional Playoffs with the next edition of Jim Sez and remember all next week we’ll have plenty to say about College Football’s Championship Game between #1 LSU versus #3 Clemson (Monday, Jan. 13, 2020).